Thr Rand: The Day The Bottom Dropped Out

Will the rand panic slow Mandela's exchange-control reforms?

What havoc rumors can wreak. Word had it that someone at the British Embassy in Cape Town saw an ambulance parked outside Nelson Mandela's residence and concluded that South Africa's 77-year-old President had suffered a heart attack. It turned out the near-mythical leader was just fine. His currency, however, was not. The false alarm triggered panic selling that on Feb. 16 took the rand to an all-time low of 3.9 to the dollar--a drop of nearly 10%.

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